Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Biological Sciences


Ramakrishna Wusirika


Bidirectional promoters regulate adjacent genes organized in a divergent fashion (head to head orientation). Several Reports pertaining to bidirectional promoters on a genomic scale exists in mammals. This work provides the essential background on theoretical and experimental work to carry out a genomic scale analysis of bidirectional promoters in plants.

A computational study was performed to identify putative bidirectional promoters and the over-represented cis-regulatory motifs from three sequenced plant genomes: rice (Oryza sativa), Arabidopsis thaliana, and Populus trichocarpa using the Plant Cis-acting Regulatory DNA Elements (PLACE) and PLANT CARE databases. Over-represented motifs along with their possible function were described with the help of a few conserved representative putative bidirectional promoters from the three model plants. By doing so a foundation was laid for the experimental evaluation of bidirectional promoters in plants.

A novel Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transient expression assay (AmTEA) was developed for young plants of different cereal species and the model dicot Arabidopsis thaliana. AmTEA was evaluated using five promoters (six constructs) and two reporter genes, gus and egfp. Efficacy and stability of AmTEA was compared with stable transgenics using the Arabidopsis DEAD-box RNA helicase family gene promoter. AmTEA was primarily developed to overcome the many problems associated with the development of transgenics and expression studies in plants.

Finally a possible mechanism for the bidirectional activity of bidirectional promoters was highlighted. Deletion analysis using promoter-reporter gene constructs identified three rice promoters to be bidirectional. Regulatory elements located in the 5’- untranslated regions (UTR) of one of the genes of the divergent gene pair were found to be responsible for their bidirectional ctivity

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